OLYMPIA…Sen. Randi Becker’s fight to improve access to health care through telemedicine got a boost when the Washington State House of Representatives passed two of her bills, which means that they now go to the governor for a signature so they can become law.
Senate Bill 5386 aims to develop more consistency in training standards for those providing telemedicine services.
Senate Bill 5387 would allow a hospital where a telemedicine visit is occurring to rely on the telemedicine credentials of a physician from a distant hospital.
“I’m so pleased that the House recognizes the importance of telemedicine and passed this legislation unanimously, as did the Senate,” said Becker, R-Olympia. “These bills are two pieces of the bigger effort to make health-care as accessible as possible.”
“It’s a challenge for people who live in areas to get adequate health and mental health care where there isn’t easy access to care providers, particularly specialists. This includes many of my constituents because there isn’t a hospital in my district. The last thing you want to do when you are sick or suffering from mental illness is travel hours to see someone qualified to treat you. Telemedicine closes that distance and allows the health care system to do a better job making patients well.
“Demand is very high for telemedicine and has the potential to save $6 billion a year in health care costs for insurance companies. In fact, 93 percent of patients who have used telemedicine say it lowered their health care costs,” said Becker. “We should be doing everything we can to expand services and improve access.”